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Sloppy 139th Kentucky Derby Stuns Fans
More than one hundred fifty thousand fans were on hand this year to witness the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and all but the luckiest of them were soaked to the bone before the horses even made the starting gate.
While the well-heeled looked down from their sheltered skyboxes and waited for the fastest two minutes in sports, the hoi polloi in fancy dress below bore the brunt of a downpour that would take the track from fair to sloppy far ahead of post time.
The unpredictable weather created a firestorm of speculation as to which horse could best maneuver in the mud. Would a splashy dash by Mylute make jockey Rosie Napravnik the first female in history to win the Derby? Or, maybe Kevin Krigger would gallop Goldencents into the Winner’s Circle to become the first black jockey to take the trophy in over a century …
No one knew – and that included the bookmakers. The field was so wide open that the two favored horses, Orb and Revolutionary, shared 6-to-1 odds just minutes before the bell.
When the gates snapped open and the cavalry surged every horse and jockey in the melee were caked in flying mud. Longshot Palace Malice thundered ahead to hold the lead for what seemed like an eternity before guttering out in the last quarter-mile, where he was eventually overtaken by the rushing wave of racers.
Among the vanguard in the final turn, Normandy Invasion bolted from the outside to battle for the lead with Golden Soul, Revolutionary and Mylute, but in the end it was Orb that broke free of the rabble and screamed to the lead from a mid-track position.
Stunned fans watched through a haze of mist and mud as jockey Joel Rosario put more than a horse’s length between his mount and second-place Golden Soul as the announcement echoed through the speakers: <em>“Orrrrrb is coming with giant strides in the center of the track! … Here comes Orb! ... Orb has won the Kentucky Derby!”</em>
Now that Orb has won fans are wondering whether the new star will be able to take the Preakness and the Belmont to become the first horse to capture a Triple Crown victory since the legendary Affirmed in 1978 – something we’ll have to look forward to as the season unfolds.
<a href="http://www.atgstores.com/">ATGStores.com</a> hopes you enjoyed the recap, and that you had a great Derby weekend.